Shira and I both became interested in this project since we have both recently come to terms with our Jewish identities and being queer women.
Shira and I created this reader to be a compilation of different teens and adults that identify as both LGBTQIA+ and Jewish. This reader includes testaments from people in various areas in the U.S., a wide age range, and people with religious background that range from Orthodox to Reform Judaism.
The purpose of this reader is to help individuals grow and learn with their Jewish and queer identities just as Shira and I have.
Many people submitted stories of what they went through growing up within their religious community and how being LGBTQIA+ has changed and/or enhanced their religious beliefs. Some wrote poems of their thoughts and feelings of being part of both communities. Also, we collected artwork by Cliel and Shira to enhance our reader. Jewish Identitiy reader
Both Shira and I reached out to people in our Jewish communities to record their stories. Shira spoke to many people on campus. People at the Mosaic Center, Hillel, Rosh Chodesh, the Women’s Center, and within our Gender Women Studies class. I collected statements from both adults and teens within a religious youth group I work for, which focuses on teaching Judaism and inclusion of all no matter race, gender, or sexual preference.
The most difficult part of the project of course was collecting statements from various people. Many individuals were extremely interested in participating in our project but due to different circumstances some could not submit any material. Because of this, Shira and I want to continue working on this project. Together, we greatly enjoyed reading and learning about our friends and people in our community that are similar to us.
We believe this reader is important for people to read because if they are a part of these communities they are able to read about what other people like them have gone through and to know that they are not alone.